Today is my daughter’s 5th birthday and we got her a new bike. TL;DR? We settled on a ByK E-250. Want to know why? Read on…
As always, I did a bunch of research. One article I came across and revisited several times was Why You Should Never Buy a 12″ Bike! (with a few exceptions). Like everyone should be, I was skeptical of such a bold claim. Some might even call it clickbait. But I kept coming back to that article because of some valid points.
Kids that don’t yet ride on two wheels should be learning to balance no matter what their age. It’s the single hardest thing to learn on a bike. Why muddle it up with pedals, gears, brakes, and bells?
Marlo got a Strider for her 4th birthday last year. Despite her constant nagging that it didn’t have pedals, she finally warmed up to it. At first she cursed the “wobbly bike” but would still give it the occasional college try because she saw her brother riding on two wheels.
5 months later and she had balancing down-pat. No training wheels, no parent running awkwardly behind hunched over. Just turn ’em loose with no pedals.
If your young/small child is just learning, go straight for the Strider. My daughter is small. At 5 years old she’s still only 30 pounds. But she could always lift and move the Strider with ease. Now with balance mastered, it’s time for pedals.
The other main point that article makes is that most 12″ bikes are heavy. I’m talking more than half the weight of your child heavy. Could you imagine trying to ride (let alone learn to ride) on a bike that weighs 100 pounds?
So I poured over their recommendations. Then I poured over the reviews of their recommendations. I sort-of went against the mediocre reviews on the ByK E-250 and got it. BTW, ByK is pronounced Buy-Kay – glad we got that out-of-the-way 🙂
Why did I choose it? Two reasons:
- 14″ wheels. It’s just a little bigger than her Strider and she can grow with it.
- The seat height can be slammed to 15″ – great for shorter kids and amazing considering the 14″ wheels size.
Here’s a comparison shot of the seat height compared to the current seat height of her Strider:
Is it light? Yes – all the bikes recommended from that article are light. Also the crank arms are nicely shaped to stay out of the way when the pedals are removed. I recommend this to any parent with an older child that hasn’t yet learned to balance. Just leave the pedals off until they’re ready.
And about the push handle and training wheels that are included…
Do not, I repeat, do not install or use them. You’re doing yourself and your child a disservice. Take the damn pedals and training wheels off and let them learn to balance on their own! These items are included to placate parents who remember their first terrifying day with the training wheels off. Their parent hunched over with a backache. Forget about it. Those two things are still sitting in the box brand new.
OK, so why is this thing only 3 stars? It comes down to 2 things:
1. Delivered with a flat tire.
I get it. This is a bummer. Do yourself a favor and order some 14″ tubes right when you buy this bike. This is an odd size so there’s even a chance that your local bike shop won’t carry it unless you special order it.
2. Bad / No Instructions
Also a legitimate complaint. The bike comes with a manual that seemingly covers every type of bike that ByK makes. So you have to figure out, is this a single-speed or a mountain bike because there’s no specific section for the E-250. Yes it’s lame. I was able to quickly work through it because I’ve put together a couple of bikes myself. This bike is rather unique and it could use a model specific manual.
Hopefully ByK figures this out, but it shouldn’t stop you from putting this bike at the top of the list. Take my daughter’s word for it.